NASDU Level 3 Certificate for a Live Person (Trailing/Tracking) Detection Dog Handler




The nationally recognised Level 3 Accredited Programme for a Live Person (Trailing/Tracking) Search Dog Handler aims to provide the learner with the basic skills, knowledge and understanding required to ensure the provision of a professional level of service as a Trailing/Tracking Dog Team.

This programme whilst not a security discipline has been developed by NASDU to meet the National Occupational Standards (NOS’s) for a specialist Detection Dog Handler and the training requirements contained within BS 8517 Part 2, (in that) it is an assessment of the learners (handlers) ability to read the indications given by a dog and to meet the required performance criteria.

Search Teams will be trained to a commensurate standard as Police Dog Teams and will be capable of supporting the Police and Search Organisations with this type of Specialist Dog Team.

For whom suitable

This programme meets the requirements of those learners working with public and private sector Search & Rescue organisations as well as public sector, law enforcement agencies responsible for search.

It would also be suitable for members of HM Armed Forces, Police, Prison Service or Customs Officers who wish to take on a Detection Dog Handler role in the private or voluntary sector.

Awarding Body

The NASDU Level 3 Accredited Programme for a Live Person (Trailing/Tracking) Search Dog Handler is accredited by Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance (HABC) who are a regulated awarding organisation with OFQUAL, SQA and recognised by the SIA.


NASDU Level 3 Accredited Programme

Course Duration

Training would be delivered over a number of weeks and would be of sufficient duration to ensure competency, having a minimum of 100 guided learning hours (GLH’s). Recognition of formal prior learning (RPL) is permissible and may be awarded by the Instructor/Trainer.

GLH’s are recorded hours of direct training, structured learning and assessment given to an individual learner by their Instructor/Trainer and not the duration of a course.

Programme Structure

The programme is flexible with a mixture of theory and practical tuition and is made up of 5 units (4 Core Units plus 1 Path Unit) all of which are compulsory (see content).

Prior Learning

The learner should be competent in the handling of a dog; it is strongly recommended that learners (and their dogs) are assessed prior to commencement of training by a NASDU Approved Instructor/Trainer for which any additional GLH’s may be identified.

The dog should be of an acceptable breed (as per BS 8517) and above 12 months old, possess the suitable drives required for its role and have had basic obedience training.

Dogs previously schooled in other disciplines must be identified to the Instructor/Trainer prior to commencement of training.

Learners who within the last 5 years have been formally certificated and have proven Detection Dog Handling experience either in the private security sector or in the public sector as a Police or Prison Officer or as a Member of HM Armed Forces, may apply for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).


Course assessment shall be carried out by an Approved NASDU Instructor/Trainer, the mode of assessment shall be by practical on-going assessment by question and answer sessions and by written examination(s).

End Point Assessment (EPA) regarding the safe systematic search and the positive indication of target scents shall be carried out by a suitably qualified (i.e. NPCC/DATR or equivalent) external assessor who does not have an interest in the learner achieving.

Quality Assurance

Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) shall be carried out by NASDU, with external accreditation of the learning provision and External Quality Support (EQS) carried out by HABC.

  • HABC Certificate – accreditation of learning programme shall be for the handler (lifetime achievement)
  • NASDU Certificate – assessment of competency shall be as a Team i.e. Handler & Dog (12 month expiry)

The successful learner can proceed onto a variety of dog detection work within the private and voluntary sector or dog training.


Unit 1 Roles and Responsibilities of a Detection Dog Handler (10 Hours)

  • Underpinning Knowledge
  • Selection

Unit 2 Control of a Detection Dog (10 Hours)

  • Basic Control
  • Emergency Stop & Recall

Unit 3 Control of a Live Person (Trailing/Tracking) Search Dog (60 Hours)

  • Prior Assessment
  • Trailing/Tracking
  • Safe Systematic Trail/Track

Unit 4 Health, Wellbeing & Safety of a Detection Dog (10 Hours)

  • Grooming
  • Transportation
  • Canine First Aid

Unit 5 Management of a Detection Dog (10 Hours)

  • Operational Management
  • Kennel Management
  • Progression of Training
Continuation Training

It should be noted that the recommendation for Detection Dog CT training in BS 8517 Part 2 is monthly which should be assessed quarterly and certificated annually.

Approved Location & Dates

A full list of Approved Instructors/Trainers authorized to deliver this specific programme are listed on the NASDU website ( Trainers are listed by geographical region and learners should contact their closest/most convenient Trainer direct who can give further details of location and dates. Alternatively, as most training is delivered flexible, i.e. over single days, evenings, weekends, etc., learners may wish to consider block/residential courses which can again be found on our website under Training then click on “Trainer Course Dates”.

Course Fees

As all training is delivered flexible and throughout most of the UK course fees are negotiated between the learner and Trainer direct, the only fee coming to NASDU would be the learner’s registration and certification fee (currently £65.00).

Further Information

Further information can be obtained by contacting NASDU Head Office.

Telephone:    01483 224320

Get in touch

Tel 01483 224 320 (Option 1)